Encouraging biodiversity and sustainable urban drainage

The protection of existing habitats and the promotion of biodiversity is an important sustainability consideration for all schemes. On each site we investigate ways in which buildings and associated landscapes can provide a learning resource to facilitate development of environmental issues within the school curriculum.

Ecological protection and the successful creation of ecosystems to enhance the natural environment.

At Church Fields, Snodland (an affordable housing scheme), the site was located adjacent to a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). In order to protect this we created a detailed Environmental Management System to enable the correct measures to take place to protect the natural environment.

Remediation works were undertaken to enable works to begin for the provision of 41 newly built homes.

At the outset we established an ecological buffer zone. Upon completion of the construction works, a new ecosystem was established through the creation of a stream running through the site.

The remediation process included dealing with contaminants such as cyanide and the installation of barrier walls to prevent migration of contamination.  The site is also in a floodplain, which has influenced the surface water drainage design.

A high pressure gas main runs through the site, which severely limits the viable construction techniques in the vicinity. Construction utilised timber frame with brick cladding and traditional pitched tile roofs.  The scheme provides a public amenity space along with a children’s play area and an ecological buffer zone to the adjacent SSSI site.

Numerous animals and reptiles were relocated prior to start on site, and a wildlife area was formed to encourage biodiversity and maintain the natural habitat for wildlife.

The exceptional measures taken to protect the biodiversity on this project led it to receive accreditation of Eco-Homes Excellent.